The financial woes of high street retailers and restaurant chains has been well-documented in all forms of media. The implication for Worthing would indicate that the proposed restaurant area in the Montague Centre is unlikely to happen as originally planned, or not at all.
This all leads one to question whether proposed redevelopments at Union Place and Teville Gate should contain any retail development if the prognosis of the recognised high street means that it is difficult to fill existing units.
History shows that retailing failed eventually at Teville Gate. In the long term the logic is that traditional areas in Worthing that have been associated with retail will diminish and as such planners will need to accept redevelopment into non-retail areas. Conversion of shops into houses or even offices. There must be a limit to the number of charity shops and discount shops that the town can support.
Napoleon’s attributed saying that ‘England is a nation of shopkeepers’ is now fast changing.
Those seeking office in the May elections need to be clear how they propose to take Worthing forward.
We certainly do not want areas of empty retail space as seen for so long at Teville Gate. Worthing faces a ‘quo vadis’ moment and those in authority will need to demonstrate skill and foresight to ensure this town will prosper.
The planning needs to be done now rather than retrospectively.
One really doesn’t need a crystal ball in this case to see what the future for retail outlets in Worthing will be with the rise of online shopping, the minimum wage and business rates, and parking charges causing this revolution in our shopping habits.
In conclusion, those who are elected in May are being given by the electors a vote of trust in that they carry out their duties for the benefit of Worthing rather than party politics.
To paraphrase John F.Kennedy, ‘ask not what Worthing can do for you, but what you can do for Worthing’.
Cissbury Road, Broadwater
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